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VA research scrutinized

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Temporary limits have been set on clinical trials being conducted by the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System while the federal Department of Veterans Affairs looks into irregularities in protocols, the head of research for the VA confirmed last week.

Dr. Joel Kupersmith said there is “no evidence of harm to patients” participating in the VA's clinical trials. He wouldn't elaborate on what problems a VA assessment team is looking at, but said, “I think it has to do with paperwork-type things and reporting requirements.” When the VA completes its assessment, it will make public its concerns, he said.

The CAVHS and the VA in Fayetteville have up to now used the Institutional Review Board at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to approve its human research trials, which are also reviewed by the VA's research and development committee. The CAVHS is now creating its own IRB to approve clinical trials.

UAMS doctors do joint research with the VA. A memo from Deborah Fiser, dean of the College of Medicine, to the faculty referred to a “suspension” of human research at the VA, but that was incorrect. No new patients are being enrolled in studies, but trial participants will continue to be followed and research will be “re-reviewed” by the IRB being created at CAVHS, Kupersmith said.

Tomorrow's THV

Floaty's Arkansas TV News Blog reported rumors that Channel 11's long-time anchor, Anne Jansen, would depart the station by the end of the year. We asked. She said that she'll be leaving the air “sooner rather than later,” but has no firm date. Pressed for a timetable, she said: “Nothing imminent.” Jansen joined the station as a reporter in 1982.

Private school

We told you several months ago that U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor had bought a home in the Heights to move his family from the Washington suburbs. His wife, Jill, and children, Porter, 7, and Adam, 8, have completed the move. The kids are enrolled in Holy Souls School this fall, just down the hill from the highly regarded Forest Park public elementary school.

We asked about the Pryors' decision for private over public schools. A spokesman for the senator said: “There are a lot of factors that go into the decision of where his children go to school and he and Jill made the best decision for his family and their kids.”

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